The reunited Beach Boys do two concerts at Mohegan Sun
It's safe to say that, to anyone under the age of 30, the lyrics to the brand new Beach Boys single, "That's Why God Made the Radio," might well have been torn from the yellowing pages of a 1963 high school yearbook. Y'see, the tune is an homage to the simple joys of cruising around in your car, listening to music on the dashboard radio.
In addition, the music and melodies are honeyed gifts to anyone with functioning ears - whatever your age and whether your contextual touchstones are the Association or Fleet Foxes or Crosby, Stills & Nash - because it doesn't get much better than this. The Boys blend about 50 different spangly chord twists with harmonies that flow like a hundred synchronized surfers doing jigsaw-puzzle maneuvers through the endless waves in your brain.
It's important to note the greatness of "That's Why God Made the Radio" because it adds a time-pegged and giddy sense that their distinct and certain legacy is still ongoing.
Indeed, newly reunited for a 50th anniversary after decades of contention and law suits, the surviving Beach Boys - Brian Wilson, Mike Love, David Marks, Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston, plus long-time Wilson music director Jeff Foskett - are recording a new CD and are out on a tour with a 10-piece band that hits Mohegan Sun Arena Saturday and Sunday.
The new single will be only one of over 40 songs fans can expect at each of the Sun shows. Material will range from the anticipated car and surf hits to "God Only Knows" and "Good Vibrations" and later progressions like "Heroes & Villains," "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times" and "Sail On, Sailor."
Welcome obscurities you'll hear include "Forever," "All This is That" and "This Whole World." On the puzzling side, they've been playing four or five covers on this tour - at the expense of masterpieces like "Til I Die" and "Warmth of the Sun." Hmm. I guess you can't have everything.
Recently, Love and Wilson called for a pre-tour phone conversation. As an indication of how much this reunion is of interest, the interview time allotment for each journalist - from The Day to the New York Times - was five minutes.
Well, we all do the best we can. Here are excerpts.
On how the band chose material for the tour:
Brian: "That's really up to Mike and Jeff because they've run (the respective Beach Boys and Wilson) tours for so long."
Mike: "That's kind of Brian to say, but every song we do is something he had a hand in, and there are a lot of elements. The show has a rhythm and a flow to it, and certain songs complement each other. You wouldn't want to segue from 'Surfin' U.S.A.' into 'In My Room,' for example. I think we take the audience on a nice trip."
On "That's Why God Made the Radio" and the decision to include it on the anniversary set list:
Mike: "When we were completing the song, it was very cool to hear all the parts come together and know it could still happen with that sense of magic."
Brian: "We haven't gotten to the point yet where we know how many songs (from the upcoming album) we'll play, but it only makes sense to do one or two."
On whether they'll break out the iconic striped band shirts familiar from 1964's "The Beach Boys in Concert" album.
Mike: "Why not? We're breaking out some songs from that era, so why not put on the shirts, too?"
Brian (laughs): "I hadn't thought of those in a while."
The Beach Boys, 8 p.m. Saturday and 8 p.m. Sunday, Mohegan Sun Arena; $55, $75; mohegansun.com.
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